“Where are you staying?” It’s a surmising question, in the same vein as “Who are you listening to right now?” or “What’s your favorite restaurant?” For inquisitive trend conscious types, finding out a person’s hotel lodging preference is the equivalent of a dog sniffing another dog’s butt. The answer provides insight into that person’s character.
Stay at an affordable hotel, maybe you’re frugal; a centrally located hotel, you’re a tourist; a reliable chain, you’re unadventurous; traditional white linen, you’re stodgy; and so on, and so forth. Successful hotels in competitive markets know that the key to thriving is picking an angle and sticking with it; a hotel can’t hope to be everything to everyone, but if it can successfully emulate the preferences of a particular social set, it can wrangle loyal repeat customers. Herein lies the key to hotel marketing.
Expect the Unexpected
Hotelier Andre Balazs has unapologetically led the way on this front with his Standard Hotel properties. The Standard Hotel motto, “expect the unexpected,” eschews tradition and replaces it with anything bold and brash. Balazs’ decision to focus on the uber trendy is bold and brash in and of itself. It’s a polarizing marketing strategy, but the recent advent of a fifth Standard location in New York City’s East Village –the other four are located in New York City’s Meatpacking District, Miami’s South Beach and Los Angeles—indicates it’s more than working.
A number of The Standard’s ad campaigns have fallen under intense public and media scrutiny for being too controversial. The most recent, titled How To be Politically Incorrect, features a series of photos by Australian artist Erwin Wurm. One such photo captures a woman urinating on a hotel room floor. Not something you’d see from a Four Seasons. And, Balazs has employed the structures themselves to act as built-in campaigns. For instance, floor-to-ceiling windows at The Standard High Line ensure that unabashed guests have the option of flaunting their naughty bits to street level passersby.
The point is, playing on an individual’s desire to be exactly that; an individual, is one of the most important strategies a hotel can employ if it hopes to keep that “No Vacancy” sign lit. It’s branding 101.
Location, location, location
Equally important for expanding hotels like The Standard is location awareness and understanding that location plays an important role in determining how to connect to a desired audience. While reckless exhibitionism may work for The Standards in New York and Los Angeles, the Florida extension is decidedly more even-tempered. A relaxed spa atmosphere is its primary selling point.
Florida Advertising Agencies
Florida advertising agencies astutely aware of the geographic benefits and limitations of the Sunshine State have the unique challenge of helping hotels with multiple locations, like The Standard, stay linearly on brand. What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, but sending a mixed message is equally damning. The trick is to finesse— to up play or downplay various aspects of a hotel’s branding nuances, depending on specific location, while still maintaining an underlying intended message. So, it’s choosing an audience and boning up on what works in various part of the world that can help a hotel prosper.
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